Sharing his history. In a new interview, Blake Griffin candidly reflected on the racism he dealt with growing up in Oklahoma with interracial parents.
“[People] had their fair share of nasty looks, of comments, of remarks,” the Detroit Pistons power forward, 31, said on “Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard” on Monday, June 22. “It’s still happening today, so you can imagine what it was like 30 years ago.”
Griffin explained that his father, Tommy Griffin, who is Black, and his mother, Gail Griffin, who is white, did not give people’s racist actions “the power,” so it “didn’t affect” their family too much.
However, the NBA star did have some trouble dating as a biracial teen in high school. He recalled female classmates saying they could “never date” him because their fathers would not allow it.
“Now, I think, ‘Man, that’s super f–ked up,’” Griffin told Dax Shepard. “But at the time, I was just like, ‘Yeah, all right,’ which is crazy to me.”
The girls’ comments were particularly surprising because the athlete had grown up in a diverse area.
“My neighbors on the right were Black, my neighbors on the left were white,” he said. “One of my best friends in the neighborhood was a girl that went to the same schools and stuff but didn’t really mix. You know what I mean? Not because there’s hatred, but just because you didn’t really mix.”
Griffin remembered “constantly choosing” between hanging out with his Black and white friends and “never, like, mixing the two” at once.
“I wish I had done a better job of that, and I wish I had known what I know now,” he admitted. “But that’s just kind of how it was in Oklahoma at the time.”
Fortunately, things changed for the University of Oklahoma alum when he moved to California to pursue a professional basketball career — particularly in his dating life.
“I don’t think [my past] ever deterred me from hanging out with who I wanted to hang out with or pursuing who I wanted to pursue,” he said on the podcast. “The beauty of being in Los Angeles, there’s just so many cultures. It’s such a diverse city that, you know, moving here at 19 was really a breath of fresh air because, like, I wasn’t that different.”
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